The brain child of female founder, Nadine Kanso, Bil Arabi is more than just a contemporary fine jewellery label. It’s the bridge between modernity and tradition, the past and present, and the concept of conveying a heartfelt message or making a statement without having to speak.
Having established Bil Arabi in 2006, the homegrown label has gained much popularity and has been seen adorned by influential women including the likes of Iraqi entrepreneur Huda Kattan and cult shoes and accessories designer, Amina Muaddi – and is best known for its play on Arabic calligraphy in the form of rings, earrings, bracelets, pendants, and cufflinks drawing on the inherent beauty, calligraphic contour, and lyricism taken from the artistic shapes and forms of the alphabet – each made in 18k gold and set with diamonds and precious stones.
Kanso is a pioneer in the world of creativity and through her keen eye for design, Bil Arabi has fast become one of the most exciting new brands to emerge from the Middle East with Nadine as the powerhouse at the helm. Now, having launched her latest collection “Hobbi,” AboutHer.com chatted with Nadine Kanso about her inspirations, challenges, the collection, and more…
For those unfamiliar with Bil Arabi, please give us a little insight into your backstory...
I started Bil Arabi in 2006 with the mission to create modern and timeless pieces that capture the essence of the Middle East. Growing up in the region, my roots and heritage have always been a major source of inspiration. Bil Arabi is a culmination of my passion for jewelry and my love for the region. I believe that our pieces are not just accessories but symbols of identity and culture. We strive to bridge past and present through our designs and to stay true to our values of craftsmanship, quality and timelessness.
You're a multi-talented female founder, and a well-known and respected, jewelry designer and creative - what has been one of your most memorable achievements in your career so far?
My most memorable achievement in my career so far was launching Bil Arabi, my luxury jewelry brand. The brand has become an internationally recognized and beloved symbol of modern Arab culture and style. I am immensely proud of the success I have achieved and look forward to the exciting opportunities that lie ahead.
What challenges have you faced as a woman in business, and how have these challenges worked to your advantage?
In every business there are challenges, and I have learnt several important lessons throughout my journey. Creating Bil Arabi taught me to be an entrepreneur in an ever-evolving industry and a sometimes difficult environment, which has given me the drive to succeed.
What does Bil Arabi mean?
Bil Arabi translates to "In Arabic". It is a statement that reflects the brand's commitment to celebrating the heritage of the Middle East and its culture.
What sets the brand aside in a market saturated with contemporary fine jewelry labels?
Bil Arabi stands apart from other contemporary fine jewelry labels in a few significant ways. Firstly, our pieces are handcrafted with the highest quality materials and we have a deep respect for traditional Middle Eastern design and craftsmanship. We also make sure that each one of our pieces has a special meaning, designed to tell stories and capture moments, making them truly special and meaningful. Above all, our designs are incredibly unique created by my handwritten calligraphy transformed into artistic pieces of jewellery.
What makes Bil Arabi designs personal?
At Bil Arabi, each piece can be personalised and designed bespoke by the customer, this is the beauty of Bil Arabi. We believe that every piece of jewelry should be a reflection of the person wearing it. That’s why our designs are carefully crafted to be both timeless and personal. We strive to create pieces that are truly unique and special to each individual, and our custom designs are the perfect way to make a statement that is distinctly yours.
Tell us a little about your latest collection, Hobbi? What does it mean?
The Hobbi collection is a true sentiment to the brands exquisite craftsmanship and artistic translation of love and a collection I am very passionate about. I am always inspired by the natural instinct to connect, share, and love, the collection highlights the importance of bonding; these Hobbi masterpieces are made to be shared as experiences of interchanging connections and admiration.
The way I see it, the Hobbi Collection is an extension of a cherished collection by Bil Arabi, its inspiration is drawn from Hobb meaning “love”. Hobbi is meant to embody the sentimental joy of giving and honoring lovers, friends and family members. What’s interesting about this collection is that the creations are playful yet elevated with their harmonious delicate feel, I hope the collection creates experiences to those who dare to show their love and affection.
Your pieces are heavily influenced by language, and Arabic calligraphy, why is this an important element throughout your collections?
The Arabic language and its calligraphy are integral parts of my identity and my heritage. They speak to who I am and what I want to express through my jewelry. By incorporating the beautiful, intricate elements of Arabic calligraphy into my pieces, I aim to create timeless pieces that are more than just jewelry; they are a way to connect with the culture and the language. In addition, it allows me to share the beauty of the Arabic language and culture with my customers and to make something that’s meaningful and personal to them.
What is your favorite piece from the Hobbi collection and why?
Add from hobbi pictures My favourite piece is the Hobbi full diamond cuff as it is such a stand out piece that can be stacked with other bracelets and bangles, whilst also being a prominent piece. As the Hobbi collection stands for love and connection, the message behind the collection is close to my heart.
Who is the Bil Arabi woman?
The Bil Arabi woman is a worldly, confident, and sophisticated individual who embraces her cultural identity and loves to stand out with her unique style. She is inspired by her culture, loves to explore the world, and values quality craftsmanship. She believes in making a statement with her jewelry, and she loves to be noticed.
Lastly, where can people purchase Bil Arabi?
Bil Arabi can be bought from bilarabi.ae, and from retailers including Bloomingdale’s Dubai, THAT Concept Store and Ounass.com